Neck Deep - Life's Not Out To Get You (Cover Artwork)

Neck Deep

Life's Not Out To Get You (2015)

hopeless records

Few bands have rose to success and fame in the pop punk community as quickly and as humbly as the Welsh-based band Neck Deep. Coming a long way from two friends recording pop punk songs in their room, Neck Deep has just released their sophomore full-length "Life's Not Out to Get You" on Hopeless Records to their now hundreds of thousands of fans. Enlisting the help and production of Andrew Wade, Jeremy McKinnon and Tom Denney (from A Day To Remember fame) Neck Deep upped the ante with their follow-up to their 2013 debut album "Wishful Thinking."

Life's Not Out To Get You comes out of left field with "Citizens of Earth," which is reminiscent of Sum 41 and Every Time I Die. Yeah, you read that right. It's a new sound for the Wales natives, and starts the record off on a creative note, yet staying true to their pop-punk roots.

Speaking of their roots, "Can't Kick Up The Roots," which is the records lead single, is the pop punk jam of summer 2015. Shying away from the pop punk cliche of hating your hometown, Neck Deep's "Can't Kick Up The Roots," is a polished, soon-to-be pop punk classic about how your hometown isn't a bad as all that.

"Gold Steps," emerged as Neck Deep's second single off of Life's Not Out To Get You before the album's release — complete with a music video to go along with it. Featuring one of the catchiest intros on the record, "Gold Steps" blossoms into one of the better and more memorable songs on the album. From a head-bobbing groove intro, to energetic double-time verses building up to a catchy chorus, "Gold Steps" completely captures the theme of the entire album. (Not to mention featuring the line from which the album gets it's name)

The album's most pleasant surprise is the hard-hitting, melodic masterpiece "Serpents." It's melodic. It's urgent. It's angst-filled. "Serpents" quickly emerged as my favorite song off Life's Not Out To Get You. The song has a weird structure, which features soft, clean-guitar parts, double-time punk parts, an anti-climatic yet super-catchy chorus — but it just works for whatever reason.

The record rounds off with par-for-the-course pop punk anthems like "Threat Level Midnight," "Kali Ma," "Lime St" and "Rock Bottom." It's not that I'm not into these songs, but they are less memorable yet solid entries. The jury is still out on "I Hope This Comes Back To Haunt You," for me as I can't decide whether or not I like it or love it. It's my wild card on the record, I can realistically see myself loving it, or skipping listening to this record months from now.

Lastly, "The Beach Is For Lovers (Not Lonely Losers)," "December," and "Smooth Seas Don't Make Good Sailors," just don't do it for me. They aren't poorly done, by any means, but their just kinda boring in my opinion — I've been finding myself skipping them on multiple listens.

Overall, Life's Not Out To Get You is a solid, above-average pop punk record. To date, this is my favorite Neck Deep release — I think their sound has matured, Barlow's vocals have improved and they did little things to avoid making it a complete cookie-cutter pop punk record.